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Aggressive behaviour in childhood and adolescence: the role of smoking during pregnancy, evidence from four twin cohorts in the EU-ACTION consortium.

Journal article
Authors Margherita Malanchini
Emily Smith-Woolley
Ziada Ayorech
Kaili Rimfeld
Eva Krapohl
Eero Vuoksimaa
Tellervo Korhonen
Meike Bartels
Toos C E M van Beijsterveldt
Richard J Rose
Sebastian Lundström
Henrik Anckarsäter
Jaakko Kaprio
Paul Lichtenstein
Dorret I Boomsma
Robert Plomin
Published in Psychological medicine
Volume 49
Issue 4
Pages 646-654
ISSN 1469-8978
Publication year 2019
Published at Gillberg Neuropsychiatry Centre
Centre for Ethics, Law, and Mental Health
Pages 646-654
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1017/S003329171800134...
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.f...
Keywords Adolescence; aggression; cross-cultural; maternal smoking during pregnancy; meta-analysis; parental aggression; paternal smoking; perinatal
Subject categories Child and adolescent psychiatry

Abstract

Maternal smoking during pregnancy (MSDP) has been linked to offspring's externalizing problems. It has been argued that socio-demographic factors (e.g. maternal age and education), co-occurring environmental risk factors, or pleiotropic genetic effects may account for the association between MSDP and later outcomes. This study provides a comprehensive investigation of the association between MSDP and a single harmonized component of externalizing: aggressive behaviour, measured throughout childhood and adolescence.Data came from four prospective twin cohorts - Twins Early Development Study, Netherlands Twin Register, Childhood and Adolescent Twin Study of Sweden, and FinnTwin12 study - who collaborate in the EU-ACTION consortium. Data from 30 708 unrelated individuals were analysed. Based on item level data, a harmonized measure of aggression was created at ages 9-10; 12; 14-15 and 16-18.MSDP predicted aggression in childhood and adolescence. A meta-analysis across the four samples found the independent effect of MSDP to be 0.4% (r = 0.066), this remained consistent when analyses were performed separately by sex. All other perinatal factors combined explained 1.1% of the variance in aggression across all ages and samples (r = 0.112). Paternal smoking and aggressive parenting strategies did not account for the MSDP-aggression association, consistent with the hypothesis of a small direct link between MSDP and aggression.Perinatal factors, including MSDP, account for a small portion of the variance in aggression in childhood and adolescence. Later experiences may play a greater role in shaping adolescents' aggressive behaviour.

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